AskDefine | Define supporter

Dictionary Definition



1 a person who backs a politician or a team etc.; "all their supporters came out for the game"; "they are friends of the library" [syn: protagonist, champion, admirer, booster, friend]
2 someone who supports or champions something [syn: patron, sponsor]
3 a person who contributes to the fulfillment of a need or furtherance of an effort or purpose; "my invaluable assistant"; "they hired additional help to finish the work" [syn: assistant, helper, help]
4 a band (usually elastic) worn around the leg to hold up a stocking (or around the arm to hold up a sleeve) [syn: garter]
5 a support for the genitals worn by men engaging in strenuous exercise [syn: athletic supporter, suspensor, jockstrap, jock]

User Contributed Dictionary




to support + -er


  1. Something that supports a structure such as a building.
  2. A person who supports, promotes, advocates or champions a cause or movement; an adherent.
  3. An animal or figure that supports a shield in a coat of arms.
  4. A garter worn around the leg to support a sock or stocking
    • 1957, J. D. Salinger, "Zooey", in, 1961, Franny and Zooey, 1991 LB Books edition, page 117,
      From the radiator, where he was attaching supporters to his socks, Zooey glanced up at her.


Etymology 1

From supportare.




  1. to support
  2. to bear
    Je ne supporte pas le mot injustice. (François Pérusse) - I can't bear the word injustice.

Etymology 2

From supporter




fr-noun m
  1. supporter, fan

Extensive Definition

In heraldry, supporters are figures usually placed on either side of the shield and depicted holding it up. These figures may be real or imaginary animals, human figures, and in rare cases plants or inanimate objects. Often these can have local significance, such as the fisherman and the tin miner granted to Cornwall County Council, or an historical link, such as the lion of England and unicorn of Scotland on the two variations of the Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom. The arms of nutritionist John Boyd-Orr use two garbs (wheat sheaves) as supporters, the arms of the USS Donald Cook, missiles, the arms of the state of Rio Grande do Norte, in Brazil, trees. Letters of the alphabet are used as supporters in the arms of Valencia, Spain.
There is usually one supporter on each side of the shield, though there are some examples of single supporters placed behind the shield, and the arms of Congo provide an extremely unusual example of supporters issuing from behind the shield. While such single supporters are generally eagles (City of Perth, Scotland) with one or two heads, there are other examples, including the cathedra in the case of some Canadian cathedrals. At the other extreme and even rarer the Scottish family Dundas of that Ilk, had three supporters; two conventional red lions and the whole supported by a salamander. The coat of arms of Iceland even has four supporters.
Animal supporters are by default as close to rampant as possible if the nature of the supporter allows it (this does not need to be mentioned in the blazon), though there are some blazoned exceptions. An example of whales 'non-rampant' is the arms of the Dutch municipality of Zaanstad.



In Canada, Companions of the Order of Canada, people granted the style "the Right Honourable", and corporations are granted the use of supporters on their coats of arms. Further, on his retirement from office as Chief Herald, Robert Watt was granted supporters as an honour.

New Zealand

Principal Companions and Knights Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit are granted the use of heraldic supporters.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, supporters are typically an example of special royal favour, granted at the behest of the sovereign. Hereditary supporters are normally limited to hereditary peers, certain members of the Royal Family, chiefs of Scottish clans, and Scottish feudal barons whose baronies predate 1587. Non-hereditary supporters are granted to life peers, Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Garter and Order of the Thistle, and Knights and Dames Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, Order of St Michael and St George, Royal Victorian Order, and Order of the British Empire. Knights banneret were also granted non-hereditary supporters, but no such knight has been created since the time of Charles I. Supporters may also be granted to corporations which have a Royal charter.

Image Gallery


See also

supporter in Czech: Štítonoš
supporter in Danish: Skjoldholder
supporter in German: Schildhalter
supporter in French: Support (héraldique)
supporter in Italian: Sostegni (araldica)
supporter in Hebrew: תומכים (הרלדיקה)
supporter in Hungarian: Pajzstartók
supporter in Dutch: Schildhouder
supporter in Norwegian: Skjoldholder
supporter in Polish: Trzymacze heraldyczne
supporter in Portuguese: Suporte (heráldica)
supporter in Serbian: Држачи штита у хералдици
supporter in Swedish: Sköldhållare

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Maecenas, Santa Claus, abettor, acquaintance, adherent, admirer, advocate, aficionado, aid, almoner, almsgiver, alpenstock, alter ego, angel, apologist, appendage, arm, assignor, assistant, athletic supporter, attendant, awarder, back, backbone, backer, backing, bandeau, bearer, best friend, bestower, bosom friend, bra, brace, bracer, braces, bracket, brassiere, brother, buff, buttress, cane, carrier, casual acquaintance, cavaliere servente, cervix, champion, cheerful giver, close acquaintance, close friend, cohort, conferrer, confidant, confidante, consignor, contributor, corset, courtier, crook, crutch, dangler, defender, dependence, dependent, devotee, disciple, donator, donor, encourager, endorser, enthusiast, exponent, expounder, fairy godmother, familiar, fan, favorer, fellow, fellow creature, fellowman, feoffor, financer, flunky, follower, following, foundation garment, friend, friend at court, fulcrum, funder, galluses, girdle, giver, grantor, grubstaker, guard, guy, guywire, hanger, hanger-on, helper, henchman, homme de cour, imparter, inseparable friend, intimate, jock, jockstrap, lady bountiful, lover, mainstay, maintainer, mast, meal ticket, neck, neighbor, other self, pair of suspenders, paladin, paranymph, parasite, partisan, patron, patroness, philanthropist, pickup, presenter, promoter, prop, proponent, protagonist, protector, public, pursuer, pursuivant, reinforce, reinforcement, reinforcer, reliance, repository, rest, resting place, rigging, satellite, second, seconder, sectary, settler, shadow, shoulder, shroud, sider, spine, sponsor, sprit, staff, staker, stalwart, standby, standing rigging, stave, stay, stick, stiffener, stooge, strengthener, subscriber, successor, sugar daddy, support, suspender, suspenders, sustainer, sympathizer, tagtail, tail, testate, testator, testatrix, trainbearer, upholder, vindicator, votary, vouchsafer, walking stick, ward heeler, well-wisher
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